MFA exhibit highlights program’s creative range

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Photo by Santiago Sanchez.

A new exhibition of artwork by second-year Master in Fine Arts students at the School of Art highlights the diversity of media and art disciplines graduate students can pursue.

The show, which opened on Friday in the school’s Green Hall Gallery, includes work from all four departments of its MFA program — photography, painting, sculpture and graphic design — and showcases works MFA students produced over the summer. Art students interviewed explained that the exhibit will also allow first-years to form an impression of what kind of work awaits them throughout the program, adding that they also aim to foster debate over the nature and intentions of the pieces on display.

“It’s a free-for-all, … a show about what you have been thinking about,” said Maria de los Angeles Cornejo MFA ’15, who has a piece on display in the exhibition. Cornejo emphasized the lack of a clear, distinct theme as well as the fact that most of the pieces at the show were produced during the summer — a time when students can explore different media and thoughts. She added that she thinks this gives the exhibit an “experimental” feel.

Sam Messer, assistant dean of the School of Art, also noted the show’s lack of a cohesive narrative, instead highlighting that the exhibit is intended to help the students and the gallery transition into the new year. Messer, who installed and runs the show in Green Hall, underlined that this year’s exhibit was conceived as a “vital place where people are making things, not different from the theater.”

Messer explained that museum visitors often forget that the art they admire was created by real people, pointing out that it is rare to be able to observe the process of producing art. Comparing the gallery to a “laboratory,” Messer said this show permits visitors to see the raw mistakes and exciting freshness of art in its early stages. Much like Einstein’s first theories arose from questions, he explained, students are using these works to pose inquiries to the exhibit’s spectators, and ask for their reactions and responses.

Sarah Meyohas MFA ’15, a photography student whose work is also on display at this year’s exhibition, noted that she thinks the diverse and exploratory nature of the show captures the singularity of the School of Art’s program.

The divisions between the four disciplines at the School of Art are largely a formality, she explained, adding that the program’s fluidity allows a sculpture student to submit paintings, for example. Not only does this grant students alternative perspectives on their art and that of others, she said, but it also allows for more experimentation and a wider range of influences.

“My baggage comes from photography, from pointing a little machine at the world when I make photos,” said Meyohas, adding that her background enables her to view the art of others through a different lens, providing input and critique which others may not be able to give.

The show will be on display until the Sept. 15.

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